Fear Makes One Tremble

What would make one tremble?

When we were in Iceland we saw an image that described fear.
An Alsatian dog was tied on a lead to the back of a wagon. It was barking and looked fierce. It’s ears were upright and his mane was big. He looked fierce like a lion.

A lady turned the corner with a white Scottie dog into the road where the Alsation was. When the small dog saw and heard the Alsatian it stopped and trembled with fright. The owner couldn’t move him as she tugged on his lead.

The Alasation could not do any harm, but his size intimidated the little Scottie.
Aren’t we often like that when we are faced with fear or bad news. One’s body trembles automatically and uncontrollably. I feel like that when I walk along a cliff or ride on a roller coaster. My body started to tremble when I was about to give birth to a child. The body reacts automatically for different reasons.

I was reading about a different kind of fear from the scriptures today.

God spoke to Moses and called him up onto Mount Sinai to give him the Ten Commandments. These were laws the Israelites were to follow. These commands are guidelines for life even today for mankind, thousands of years later.

“On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled.”
‭‭All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭19:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬
“Then God gave the people all these instructions: the Ten Commandments.
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬
When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear.

And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!” “Don’t be afraid,”
Moses answered them, “for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of him will keep you from sinning!””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:1, 18-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It is good to have a holy fear of God. We need not tremble with fear when we know God loves us and cares. Here are some more references to the fear of God.

In Isaiah 44, the writer describes God,

6 This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies:

“I am the First and the Last;
there is no other God.
7 Who is like me?
7 Who is like me?
Let him step forward and prove to you his power.
Let him do as I have done since ancient times
when I established a people and explained its future.
8 Do not tremble; do not be afraid.
Did I not proclaim my purposes for you long ago?
You are my witnesses—is there any other God?
No! There is no other Rock—not one!”

And in Isaiah 66:2 I read,
My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.”

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tremble/

Craft Work is Creative

imageI am at a Craft Fair today in Belfast, the first of the New Year. All the preparation and activities of Christmas are over and I am emerging into the New Year like the daffodil shoots that are reaching up out of the soil. The freezing temperatures last night would have been trying for new growth and little birds alike. My car was covered in wonderful designs of crystal ice, including the door handle. Brendan kindly defrosted the car and loaded boxes and books while I had breakfast.

The birds were having breakfast as well. A Robin with his feathers puffed up was feeding on some seeds Brendan left out for it. We have a tree of ivy out the front. Blackbirds were diving into it, greedy for the last berries on the stems. I counted six birds. They needed more fuel than usual after the cold night.

I started making mosaics from sea glass I found on the beach eighteen months ago. Sea glass is worn down pieces of broken bottles and glass fashioned by years of tumbling and crashing in the waves, sand, water and rocks. I make something beautiful from disgarded,broken and misshapen pieces of glass.

Life treats us a bit like the waves of storms. We get tossed about, rejected, disgarded and worn down by difficulties, sickness and misfortune, till we are a shadow of our former selves. Then the Lord can pick us up and put us together again into a new creation, his creation. He breathes breathe into us and says “Live dry bones, Live.”

My mosaics are a symbol of restoration. I had cancer seven years ago. I should have died from my condition, but God had mercy on me and healed me completely. I am enjoying new life and strength. I was inspired to start my craft. God is the Creator. He created us in his image. He made us creative. As I start my work with the pieces and polyfilla I get creative ideas. I have made birds, angels, trees, Maps of Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Zante, the World, Irish cottages, shamrock and hearts.

God not only healed me of cancer but he has restored me to good health to enjoy life and and activity.

Psalm 103 says
“Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭103:1, 3-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Psalm 23 He restores my soul.
God is restoring my soul through my craft work.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/craft/

Recognise. Daily Prompt.

Dont I recognise youI” said the doctor to my husband. ” I have seen you before.” My husband just looked at him. Brendan was asked to come join me in the waiting room in the accident and emergency department of the local hospital. The doctor had just examined me. My daughter who is a doctor and my husband thought from my symptoms I must have cancer. They were anxious to hear the doctor’s opinion of my condition.

“Are you the man with the big family?” Brendan wanted to know how I was and not be questioned on another subject.
” I know now. Did you write books for India? There are two books of yours in my mother’s home in Kerala, India. There is a photo of your big family on the front.”
Brendan was perplexed.

Now to the matter of my condition. He discovered a firm mass in my bowel when he examined me. He didn’t mention cancer, but said he would refer me for further tests to the cancer unit in Belfast and request immediate attention. I got an appointment to see a specialist in two weeks time. There is usually a longer waiting time. We got favour because the doctor recognised Brendan.

We left the hospital resigned that I had some serious condition. We went home to tell our family that mummy wasn’t well. I had always been healthy. The only time I was in hospital was to have my children. I felt numb. My husband felt numb. We were weak and began to think of what the future would hold for us. I felt I was dying. I had no strength.

Brendan began to reflect on meeting the India doctor earlier in the hospital. Before the doctor told Brendan any bad news, he reminded Brendan of the books he had written for India. Brendan and I had sacrificed our time and finances to write two books for a Christian ministry, “Christ for India.” The Lord was speaking to his heart and saying “I am here with you in your day of trouble. I remember your sacrifice for the poor.”

Psalm 91 gives me a promise from God’s Word, I will be with you in trouble and deliver you out of it.
Psalm 41 says, he who has regard for the poor The Lord will raise him up from his sick bed.”
Psalm 112 says The man who fears the Lord will have no fear of bad news.

In my day of trouble and weakness God reassured us of his care. He is faithful to keep his promises. Thus began my journey through cancer. Four months later I believed I was healed of fourth stage cancer.
It was good the doctor was on duty that day. He did recognise Brendan, the man with the big family.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/recognize/

Overwhelming Like a Storm

imageI feel overwhelmed with the argument and debate about the nations on the media.

I usually turn on the local radio station when I come down for breakfast. It is company when I am on my own. I hear the latest news, interviews from local people and local weather reports.

Since President Trump was elected I am overwhelmed by the debate and argument about his decisions he is making for his country. I am tired listening to opinions about how Leaders should rule their countries.  When I open Facebook I get more information and videos to look at concerning Trump.  I am finding it difficult to lead my family of fourteen never mind a country.

Being in leadership is not easy. You can’t please everyone all the time.
My husband finds it very difficult when I don’t agree with him and when I resist his decision making. I was not honouring him and supporting him and trusting him. I thought I knew better. When my children resist me and don’t do as I ask them, which is often a doable request, I am not happy. Someone has to be accountable for a family, business, or government.

It is good to allow people to have their say but someone has to make decisions to get jobs done. If I don’t want to do operate with my husband and family then we descend into chaos. We don’t move forward.

I have learnt from the scripture and from experience that the husband is the leader of the family. In a dream I was shown that when I resisted my husband or undermined his authority I was rebelling.

I also had a dream showing me a dark giant figure ominously towering over me. I awake crying. I knew in my spirit that was a generational spirit of rebellion. When I had this dream I was dying of cancer! I was willing to pay attention to this revelation and take it seriously. I was not aware of what actually rebellion was before. I asked God to forgive my rebellion and deliver me from this power. I was delivered from this evil power and I know this helped my healing from cancer. I avoid argument since then. Hence I don’t enjoy debate and argument on the media.

When a judge sends a prisoner to jail no amount of protest from the prisoner will change the judge’s mind. He is taken off to prison in hand cuffs. The prisoner has to submit to authority or he will be in worse trouble. If I resist a police man, who represents the authority of the government, I will experience the full penalty for my behaviour. If I park on a double yellow line and I am fined, I have to pay up. I have to obey the law and those in authority.
I don’t turn on the radio any more. I don’t open news feed on Facebook.  I don’t  want to be overwhelmed.  It doesn’t help my well being or peace.  All the debates and disagreements only foster fear and hopelessness and more rebellion.

There has been a gale blowing these last few days. The sky was dark, the noise of the storm was unsettling making me feel even colder. It was more of an effort to keep warm. If I focused on the effects of the storm I could get depressed.

I awoke this morning to the sun shining in the window. It was a complete contrast to the previous evening.  Yesterday at this time the water from the Lough was crashing over the wall along the road. Today the water is calm and I hear the call of the Brent geese below. The storm has passed. Peace has returned.
I choose not to be overwhelmed.

 
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/overwhelming/

Keeping my Home Clean

“Where there are no oxen, the stall is clean, but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭14:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬
I found great comfort from this scripture when I was rearing my children. There is plenty of hard work and plenty of mess; Brendan and I had to see beyond the hum drum of daily life. We had young children but they will grow to become adults who will make a difference in the world. They will work, prosper and increase as they have wives and families of their own. They will bring a harvest of good for others. They will make a difference in their generation.

image image

It’s just as well I had an easy going disposition. I never thought it a priority to dust and clean and Hoover . Some people are house proud and keep their home like a palace where the family cannot relax. Don’t leave that there. Pick that up. Wipe that mess up. If I was constantly demanding my husband or children keep the house clean it would not be home where everyone enjoyed being together. My energy went into breast feeding, nursing, cooking, shopping, overseeing, driving and seeing to the needs of others. There was no extra energy to have the house spick and span. My husband had to get used to the busyness in a big family. He lived with his mother as an only child before we were married.

I kept the amount of clothes each child had to a minimum. That meant less washing, and less clothes to be left on the floor of the bedrooms. Each child who was old enough helped with clearing of dishes, filling the dishwasher, washing of pots and pans and sweeping of the floor after each meal. We had wooden floors which were easy to brush and wipe with a mop. I expected the children to look after and keep their bedrooms clean. I never got to the top of the house each day to check. Peace reigned instead of stressing over untidy bedrooms or dirty dishes.

Life was to be lived. After school there was time to play with friends outdoors, or with toys indoors. My girls enjoyed reading books. They would be found in their rooms engrossed in a book. We didn’t have a television in those early years. We found it a waste of our time. Often it brought strife. There would be diagreement of what programme to watch. We got rid of it and we found plenty of other things to occupy us.

My big kitchen has a tiled, speckled flour. The dirt does not show up on it. It can be left for days without being cleaned.

We had green carpets throughout the bedrooms. They kept the rooms warm but didn’t show up spills or grim. A weekly Hoover refreshed the carpets to keep them clean. Buying a dishwasher was my first big investment in my kitchen. It proved invaluable. Dishes could be stored in it and washed when it was full. That kept the benches clear and clean.

My household was full of family over the Christmas period. Bathrooms needed cleaned, the washing machine was in use a lot, clothes needed dried, beds needed changed for new visitors. I felt I was running an hotel.

It is quiet now with children left home. There is less work needed to keep the house. The stall is clean.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/clean/

Unity

There was devastation in my country, Northern Ireland, when Protestants and Cathoilics were at war from 1968 to 1998.

Thirty years of Troubles. Catholics were bombed out of their homes, forced to move away from Protestant neighbours. Protestants were bombed out as well to force families into Ghettos. City centres were bombed to try to disrupt everyday life. Your life was at risk if a Catholic married a Protestant. Hearts were broken over the death of loved ones, and dreams. Men and women were kidnapped and never returned to their families. Many people were forced into exile. Why did this happen? Other nations who don’t believe in Jesus were laughing at us. We were bringing shame to the name of Jesus.

This is Christian Unity week. Around the third week in January each year, Christians are encouraged to gather together to pray. This movement has been encouraged for around ninety years. I think it a great idea. I was inspired to seek for unity many years ago when I read Jesus’ word to his disciples before he went to the crucified.

“Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me.
Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.
I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”
‭‭John‬ ‭17:11-12, 17, 21-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It was one of Jesus’ last prayers for us before he died. This prayer is still valid today. When I first came upon this scripture there was war in Northern Ireland; war between Protestants and Catholics.
I was distressed that this situation was definitely the opposite of what Jesus prayed. I determined to look for unity among Christians.

I sought out other Christians in my town. I went along to every Church to meet the people and see what their services were like. I found they had many things in common. The bible was read and explained. They prayed to the same Father in heaven, “Our Father who art in heaven.” They all said that Jesus forgives our sins. They all said there is a heaven and a hell and one can be sure of getting there to heaven if one has faith in Jesus. They all celebrated the breaking of bread to remember Jesus death. Many people turned to God during the troubles and found solace at Church. Congregations were growing. But still I wondered why are there so many churches. Why were there so many different meeting places? Why was there such hatred and bitterness among people outside causing bloodshed in my country?

Here is another verse that inspired me at the time.

““I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:19-22‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I wanted God to change my life on the earth. Jesus said “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus promises us eternal life in heaven with him and the Father if we believe and trust him. Not only that but he wants us to experience his kingdom life here on earth. There is peace, joy, unity and love in heaven. Why not on earth as well? I wanted heaven to come on earth in my life, home and community.

I wanted to pray, even if it was only one other person, all those thirty eight years ago. I read a book in the library about people in America meeting together to pray for healing and people got healed! I found a group of ladies who prayed. One was a Presbyterian, another a Church of Ireland, a Methodist, a Baptist and myself a Catholic. We met together to pray each week. I felt at home and began to pray. One lady said later, “I was the best wee evangelical prayer she had ever heard.” Yes God was in our midst, as Jesus said “I am there with them.” There may have been war outside, but we had peace in our hearts and in our meetings. Prayers were answered, especially prayers for peace in our country. We would pray that bombs would not go off. Often bombs were found by the police before they did any damage. We prayed for our families. I found these ladies loving and encouraging. I looked forward each week to seeing them.

With any step forward in one’s walk with Jesus, one’s heart gets tested. Immediately after Jesus taught his disciples to agree in prayer, Peter asked “How often have we to forgive?” It is necessary that to be in unity one has to forgive. Each of us is a sinner. If I want my own way and don’t work with the other person then there is disagreement. Our prayer is not answered.

This can be particularly relevant when a husband and wife wish to pray together. You don’t have to leave home or go to Church to pray with someone else if you are married. Statistics show that not many couples pray together. It is easier to pray with a stranger who believes in God than one’s husband. It is God’s plan that a husband and wife are in unity. He wants us to be one! How can this be? Only by God’s power. No amount of reading “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” will bring about the unity. I know. I have been tried in the furnace of affliction in order for me to agree with my husband. Perhaps you ladies out there can identify with me.

““But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.””
‭‭Mark‬ ‭10:6-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This is the ideal but in the working out of this truth one has to give up one’s own agenda for the sake of the other. It means giving up one’s pride, ambition, and independence for the sake of the other. Am I willing to do this for the sake of the Kingdom of God and unity to come in my marriage, my family and community of believers.

Jesus knew how difficult we would find it to agree. It is difficult for two sinners to live together. Paul fell out with Barnabas, who had been a big encourager to him before. They went their separate ways. Jesus has made provision for us. He died and shed his blood for me for my forgiveness of sins. He wants me to forgive my brother or sister who has done me wrong. Through his blood we can be reconciled and be in unity again, so we can pray. Outside of ourselves we have the evil one, the devil, with whom to contend. He hates when people agree to pray and especially when a couple pray. Satan is defeated when we overcome our disagreements.

I appeal to you, brothers, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to make up the differences between you, and instead of disagreeing among yourselves, to united again in your belief and practice. It is clear there are serious differences among you.”
God has taken me on a journey to seek an answer to Jesus’ prayer for unity. This has taken me back into my own home. I seek unity with my husband so we can pray and our prayers are not hindered. God has cleared away the serious differences between us. This means being humble, forgiving and not arguing.

Jesus told us to remember his death in Communion. Before we come to Communion in remembering Jesus death on the cross we are encouraged to go to our brother and and sort out any disagreement.
“Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I am beginning to understand why there is bitterness and hatred among Christians. It is deeply rooted in their hearts. Injustices against one another in past generations had grown into devastation of lives and property in our towns. Great offences had festered for generations and grew into deep roots of malice and hatred. Can our land be healed? Can people be healed who have been deeply hurt? Is there any balm to heal the wounds of my people?

God was working. There was hope. Two “Cities of refuge”were opened. Cecil Kerr began a work of Reconciliation in Rostrever Renewal Centre. Protestants and Catholics could find a space to meet together and be accepted. Corrymeela, near Ballycastle, was opened by Ray Davey with a vision to give holidays to people who needed to get out of the war zones. Another city of refuge. Protestants and Catholics were starting on a journey of getting to know one another.

Peace talks were held with the help of other leaders from Britain, Tony Blair, and America, President Clinton. Channels of communication were opened. Political leaders from Northern Ireland, John Hume and David Trimble received the Nobel Peace Prize for their work for peace. Martin Maginess and Paisley who had been enemies, became the First Minister and Deputy Minister in Stormont. They worked together and became known as “The Chuckle Brothers.” The War ceased. The devastation stopped.

There is a Balm to heal the wounds of my people. I found him. He is Jesus. He forgives all sins of the people and their forefathers’ sins through the shedding of his blood. If we have faith that he forgives sins we can be set free. So the devastation, hurt, divorce, cancer and hatred need not continue. It starts with me forgiving another if he hurts me. If I feel wounded I ask Jesus to heal me and not let the wound fester until I want revenge. By his stripes I am healed.

When I was suffering from cancer, I had unforgiveness in my heart. I definitely wasn’t in agreement with my husband and other Christians. I had to ask Jesus to forgive me again and in return I chose to forgive others. My heart was cleansed and at the same moment my cancer disappeared. I sought reconciliation with my husband and others.

The war has ceased. But now so many of our churches, whether they are Catholic, Church of Ireland, Prespyterian, Methodist, Baptist, or new Church having falling numbers in their congregations? Why are so many people suffering from cancer. Has there been fall outs in marriages, divorces, family and church members?

I urge you as Paul says above, to make up the differences between you. Pray together again with one or two. This is how we solve our problems and our nation’s problems. When we are forgiven, healed and restored we are free to pray together and our prayers will be answered. Some people from Northern Ireland now are invited to other war torn nations to help broker peace. What God has done for us he can do for others.

There is restoration after devastation. We need not give up hope.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/devastation/

 

The First Flowers of Spring.

My daughter, husband and four children came to visit yesterday. They have to make a three hour journey from the south of Ireland.  This was their Christmas visit as life was too busy for us all to see each other then.  The children have past the baby and play school stage. No buggies or car seats to contend with. Now the grandchildren are approaching the teenage years. Long legs and reaching arms need room.  They are blooming like the flowers Shann reached me.  Mark’s people carrier Jeep has served the family well.

They all poured out of the vehicle, glad of the stretch. We shared hugs, so glad to see each other. Bags of presents weren’t forgotten in the back seat. I didn’t notice their visiting student from Spain at first. She is staying with them for six weeks to improve her English. A student exchange has been working between Ireland and Spain for many years. The Spanish like the tone of the English the Irish use.

I remembered back to when we would take our children on trips in our van to the beach, the playground or a forest. They poured out of the van and ran in every direction like calves released from the stall. Brendan would whistle and they would come back when it was time for home.

We gathered in the kitchen for lunch. The children were excited to be back at Granda’s house.

“I’m sorry they’re a bit battered and bruised,” Shann said. I wasn’t paying attention as I reached a bowl from the cupboard. There was clattering of delph and cutlery as the girls set the table.
“Did Mark have to stop and deal with the children?” I said thinking it was the children Shann was talking about.  I looked up.  She was referring to the bunch of flowers she had given me.
We all had a good laugh. I love this first bunch of spring flowers.

“Did you come across on the ferry?” I asked Mark. “Yes” he said. “The attendant informed me there was a special offer on this Sunday. If you buy a return ticket we can deal with any children who have misbehaved. We throw them overboard.” We burst out laughing again. This is Irish humour. I hope the Spanish girl didn’t mind.

On the sunny afternoon all the girls headed down to the shore. Hannah arranged a competition to see who could pick the most sea glass for granny.  That was good idea because it motivated them to search all over the place. They had the extra blessing of seeing different birds, a heron, gulls, oystercatchers, Brent geese and redshanks.

Back at the house the treasure was displayed and counted. Ten points for each blue glass, five for green and three for white. The winner was announced, cheered and rewarded. They had good fun. I have the added benefit of all that sea glass to work with.

image

Meanwhile Mark, with some helpers loaded up bicycles, table and chairs he had stored with us since they moved house. He secured it to the top of the jeep. No worries with Mark. Too soon it was time to go. Mark sped off with a bigger load. I hope they got across on the ferry with no one or nothing going overboard.  A great day.